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Walter E. Fernald
no. 3 13 *SL
CONGRESS & HONORE STS.
INDUSTRIES FOR THE
A HANDBOOK FOR TEACHERS
for Feeble Minded.
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ADLARD AND SOI|^€aRTHOLOMEW PRESS
BARTHOLOMEW CLOSE, E.C.
Reprinted, March, 19 14
PRINTED BY ADLARD AND SON
LONDON AND DORKING
HTHE following pages have been written by
Mr. A. Bickmore, who for the past ten
years has been Craftsmaster and Clerk of the
Works at Darenth Industrial Colony, an insti-
tution for feeble-minded and imbecile patients
of all ages.
During these ten years the Colony, which
started in a small way, has increased to the
large dimensions described in the book. Thus
Mr. Bickmore has had an experience in the
development of industrial work and in the
methods of training the mentally deficient
which I venture to say has fallen to the lot
of few others in any part of the world.
His object in writing the book is to give
to others as far as possible the benefit of his
experience, and to assist trainers in the various
methods of teaching which are practised.
The book in some parts enters into technical
details, which probably will only be understood
by teachers skilled in the various trades, but,
taken as a whole, it should appeal to every-
one who is interested in the training of the
October, 191 3.
A Short History of Darenth Indus-
trial Colony 4
Advice to those commencing Industries 8
Mixed Grades in Workshops ... 19
The Training Staff 20
TRADES TAUGHT AT DARENTH . . 27
Carpenter's Shop . . . . . 28
Bookbinding, Envelope and Box-making 31
Brush-making . . . . * -36
Shoe-making and Repairing . .46
Fibre Mat Making 47
Wool-rug Making . . . . .51
TRADES TAUGHT AT DARENTH
Tailor's Shop 56
Upholstering, Mattress-making, etc. . 57
House-painting and Decorating . . 62
Building and Outdoor Work. . . 63
Wood-chopping and Bundling . . 65
Carpenter's Shop 32
Needlework and Stocking-making . .38
Basket-making . 42
Brush- and Rug-making . . . -50
Tinsmiths .... . 52
Envelope and Box-making . . . .60
Building Work 64
INDUSTRIES FOR THE
At the present time, when the care and
control of the mentally defective are so
prominently before the public eye, I venture
to place before those who are likely to have
the care and teaching of these people my
experience of fourteen years' close connection
with this class of patient, and also of eighteen
years' association and labour with the class
from which the patients cared for by the
Poor Law Authorities spring.
The passing of the Mental Deficiency Bill
will no doubt prove the need of providing
suitable employment for these people when
they are gathered into the various homes
and institutions which will have to be pro-
vided for them.
In past years the members of the Metro-
politan Asylums Board had been studying
the question of employment for the feeble-
minded and imbecile, and about ten years
ago resolved to attempt to give the patients
practical teaching in various trades and
industries. The result is to be seen at
Darenth Industrial Colony, Dartford, Kent,
controlled by the Metropolitan Asylums
Board, of which Institution Dr. A. Rotherham,
M.A., M.B., B.C.Cantab., is the head. The
Institution accommodates over 2000 patients,
both feeble-minded and imbecile, and has
been visited during the past nine years by
people from all over the world, who have
expressed themselves as being astounded
at the cheerfulness and industry displayed
by the patients who a few years ago were
This great change has been brought about by
sound common-sense methods adapted to the
varying needs of the patients employed. It
has been proved that to teach even the
normal boy or girl to make articles which
can be put to no real use is labour thrown
away. Much more so does this fact apply to
the mentally afflicted. Therefore, in my
opinion, it is useless to continue teaching
kindergarten methods after the patients have
reached twelve years of age, and these methods
should be superseded by practical teaching in
making articles which the patients see in
every-day use for domestic or other pur-
My experience is that a boy or girl learns
more from the age of twelve to sixteen years
than he or she is likely to do after that
age, when matters other than work begin to
occupy their attention. Thoroughly interest
them in their early years and they are not
nearly so likely to generate the vicious habits
which are peculiar to these people after
reaching a later age. It will no doubt be
found that a large number of the people who
are likely to come under control are they who,
when asked what work they have previously
done, answer, " Helped at home." This is a
difficult class of patient to deal with. They
have generally led dull, purposeless lives
with very little to interest them or occupy
their minds, for the feeble-minded, in games
or amusements, as in industries, have no
initiative, and they are usually kept at home
until they get beyond control or are dangerous
to others, and an age has been reached when
it is very difficult for them to make a start
in any industry.
A Short History of Darenth Industrial
The growth of our Colony from small
beginnings has been a remarkable work. In
commencing the industries use was made of
any odd rooms available in the basements,
and the shifts that were made in the way of
equipment so as not to involve any outlay
until we had justified ourselves were many
and curious. One instance stands out promi-
nently in my memory. We had just com-
menced brush-making, and the material we
had purchased did not, I suppose, exceed in
value five pounds. To commence the pan or
set work, that is, inserting the bristle into the
stock or woodwork with pitch, we rigged up
an old meat-tin supported on two bricks upon
a rough bench, and carried a rubber tube with
a Bunsen burner attached from the nearest
gas-bracket to the underside of the meat-tin
and so made a pan-bench and set our first
broom. From such small beginnings did our
brush-making industry spring. In the first
year (1905) the number of brooms and
brushes made was about seven hundred, in
191 2 our output was thirty thousand five
hundred (30,500), and we keep a stock of
brush-making material valued at ^900.
In the case of all the other industries now
carried on a start was made under similar
disadvantages. On the female side of the
Colony a nurse was taught by the male
instructor the wire-drawn branch of brush-
making. She soon became competent to
teach two of the female patients, who in
their turn helped to teach others. There are
now thirty girls continually employed in this
branch of the trade.
These girls also do the trepanned drawn
brush work, for which their fingers are better
adapted than are those of the boys, the
material used being very fine, and drawn into
the stock with silk thread.
The same method was used for starting
the bookbinding trade. A nurse was taught
a branch of the trade, viz. sewing, also
envelope, label, paper-bag and cardboard-
box making. Thirty-three girls are now
continually employed in this industry.
Further work being required on the female
side, it was decided to open a branch of the
upholstering, so here, again, a nurse was taught
mattress-making and upholstering, and she in
turn now teaches seventeen girls, some of
whom are making splendid progress.
In a year or two, owing to the crowded
state of the odd rooms used as male work-
shops, and on account of the progress the
patients were making in their various trades,
it was decided that we were justified in asking
for improved quarters. The Managers there-
fore decided to erect male workshops at a
cost of ^3000. After these shops were
built the necessary equipment was made
and fixed by patients. These shops, in turn
are now found to be greatly overcrowded,
and an extension will shortly be in hand
which will give ample room for some time to
The question then arose as to permanent
shops for female patients, as the odd rooms
in use were rapidly becoming crowded and in
other ways inconvenient for ourgrowing needs.
To meet our requirements the Managers
decided to erect workrooms for females at a
cost of ;£6ooo.
These shops are perfect in every way for
the purpose for which they are required.
They consist of two large rooms for new
needlework, with accommodation for 200
patients, and a needle-room for repairs, seating
120 patients, besides rooms for brush-making,
bookbinding and mattress-making. The
shops are covered with a weaver's roof with
north-lights, and the windows are high up at
the sides, so that the patients' attention is not
taken from their work. The floors are wax
polished, and the whole is heated by a system
of hot-water pipes. All parts are easily
accessible for cleaning, and the temperature
of the shops is at all times perfect owing to
the sound system of ventilation.
These shops in their turn are already
becoming overcrowded, and further room will
be necessary in the near future.
In the adult shops 830 patients are em-
ployed (male and female). In 19 12, 109,580
articles were made, and 90,096 articles were
The value of the above work was £1 1,992
16s. $d. Apart from goods consigned by
rail, 1 30 motor van loads of goods, the weight
of which was about 300 tons, were conveyed
to our Central Stores in London for distribu-
tion to our various institutions.
The number of articles given above does
not include printing, box-making, paper-bag
making, envelope making, or wood bundling.
The whole of these goods are consumed in
the Metropolitan Asylums Board's own
Advice to those commencing Industries.
One of the chief points to be considered
in commencing industries for the feeble-
minded is the difficulty of finding a market
for the output. If you make commercial
articles such as brooms, baskets, tinware,
fibre mats, etc., they must be of the best
quality if they are to be acceptable to the
accounting officer of another institution, and
this is where the difficulties begin.
In commencing these trades you are bound
at the start to have articles turned out which
are ill made, and, although quite suitable for
the purpose for which they are produced,
would not on account of this defect appeal
to a possible consumer. This will involve a
serious loss unless you can make use of the
goods yourselves in your own institutions.
We have been fortunate at Darenth in this
respect, the Metropolitan Asylums Board
controlling nearly sixty institutions, all of
which are large consumers of the goods
Before commencing an industry it is essen-
tial to find out if there will be a demand for
the goods when made, and whether materials
can be purchased with which to do the work.
As an example :
If bookbinding is carried on, the printed
matter for wages, bedding, clothing, require-
ment and other quarterly books must be
supplied. Manuscript and " please supply "
books are always in demand ; but in time it
will be found that more work will be produced
that can be consumed, and as the prices for
these goods are cut very fine the question
arises, can these goods be transferred to con-
sumers at a remunerative price ?
With regard to fancy work, you are in a
better position for disposing of the goods,
and fancy baskets, wool rugs, collar, glove
and handkerchief boxes and fancy articles
made in the brush, bookbinders' and car-
penters' shops find a ready sale at bazaars, etc.
If expense is no hindrance, then every
class of trade can be attempted ; but if, as at
Darenth, a strict profit and loss account is
kept and a strictly business basis laid down,
one would certainly hesitate before under-
taking trades in which a considerable amount
of money can easily be wasted.
It is the business footing upon which we
work which has been such a great help to us
in building up our working colony at Darenth.
Given good conscientious trainers and a
market for the goods, the change, bustle and
business-like methods of packing and de-
spatching the goods will be found to appeal
to the patients and to encourage them to
take a great interest in their work. Let the
boys and girls know what orders are in hand,
where the goods are going to, when they are
required, and the need of despatching them
in good condition. Also let them see the
unpleasantness of having articles returned as
unsatisfactory. Many of the patients are
quite as keen as the trainers themselves, and
the interest they take in getting goods ready
to date, loading into the vans and sending
them away in sound condition is remarkable.
Now I have said a good deal of the difficulties
of commencing these industries, and that they
are many is only too true ; but apart from
the financial aspect of the case there is a
good deal to be said in favour of labour
colonies for teaching the feeble-minded or
imbeciles. Those who know what people of
this class are can testify to the pleasure which
a finished article produced for the first time
gives them. To the feeble-minded patient
it is an object-lesson that he is of some use
in the world. It instils hope and encourages
further effort. At Darenth, I am glad to say,
the patient has to be very bad indeed before
failure is written against him or her. In
some cases quite two years have elapsed
before a patient has made any attempt to
work, and yet this patient ultimately has
turned out to be a very useful worker.
Never mind how small the part a patient
may take in an industry, let him be encouraged
to think he is doing the most important part
and then he will surely make good progress.
Encouragement is most necessary, and con-
tinual attention and practical illustration
must be given by the teacher or instructor.
No matter how well the patient does the
work, always let him understand that it can
be done still better. I am afraid many a
trainer talks over the patients' heads. He
should not expect to bring the patients up to
his own level, but should come down to that
of the patients. He should teach the patient
that the industry he is engaged on is all-
important, that it is good for him to be busily
employed, and send him to bed with a
healthy tiredness. He is thus doing the
patient the greatest possible kindness and is
elevating him to the greatest possible extent,
knowing as we all do the evil habits into
which the feeble-minded fall if their time is
not fully occupied.
Another important point is to gain the
confidence of your patients. In the event of
difficulties occurring in their work they will
then not be afraid to approach you. Other-
wise, instead of letting you see their mistakes
they will hide them. Rectification is then
difficult and will result in a waste of valuable
It may be asked whether it is better to
teach the feeble-minded a trade throughout
or a branch of a trade only.
If you are going to undertake work to any
great extent and you have a good supply of
patients to fill your shops, I should recom-
mend a branch only. By doing so you will
make your shop a going concern much more
quickly than by trying to teach the patients
the whole of a trade, for with the majority of
the boys and girls their minds become quite
confused if you try to cram them, so for the
greater number of your patients a branch
only with as much variety as possible in that
branch is better.
In a very short time, by watching your
patients it is easy to discover the boy or girl
who is going to be generally useful. In
order to single out the patients who are
making progress this rule may be relaxed a
little and the patients may be allowed to
attempt some other work. The boy or girl
who takes any interest in the worl^ will
readily attempt some other branch, proving
that he or she has the imitative faculty well
developed. The lower type of patient will
not on his own initiative try to do any other
work than he has been accustomed fto.
Tactful treatment of the feeble-minded is
one of the most valuable assets for the teacher,
while firmness, kindness and appreciation of
their attempts, no matter how poor, are help-
ful, and act as an incentive to the patient to
try and do better. In the shop a little
freedom must be allowed, and talking should
be encouraged (provided it is about the work)
rather than discouraged. It gives the patient
the opportunity to criticise the work of others,
and helps to remedy defects. Instructors
will do well to take note of this fact.
When starting fresh patients it is a good
plan to place a boy or girl conversant with
the work beside the new-comer. They can
then be left alone and a certain amount of
confidence placed in the older patient to
teach the younger the initial steps of the
trade, while you can from time to time
tactfully supervise the whole.
Changes and variety of any sort are
hecesr>ary with these people, and it is ad-
visable to change the class of article the
patient is making from time to time. The
patients making Scrubbing-brushes should be
allowed to make shoe-brushes — the same
class of wofk, but ii change in material and
Waste is one cf the difficulties to contend
with, and the patients should not be allowed
easy access to the material, although in time
they may be entrusted to handle it freely.
With beginners it is necessary that all
droppings and cuttings should be used before
other materials are issued. This will en-
courage the patients to make less waste, and
they will soon learn that it is much easier to
use material first hand than in a crippled
One of the chief objections which people
raise to starting some of the industries is the
fact that formidable tools are required. Now
in my opinion it is a great mistake to speak
of danger or sharp tools, or to make a fuss
in any way concerning these things before
patients. Take the tools into the shop,
commence to use them in the way they are
intended to be used, and say nothing con-
cerning danger, and very little trouble will
It will be found that a large amount of
the trainer's time is likely to be taken up in
grinding, sharpening, or setting tools, which
otherwise will have to be sent away to be
done ; consequently it is sound policy to allow
the patients to attempt the work for them-
selves, even at the expense of a dozen or so
plane irons or chisels which they will probably
grind away while learning. The help which
success in sharpening the tools means to
trainers is very great, as it is obvious that the
patients, while learning to use the tools, are not
very particular to a nail or two or what
obstacle they cut through. A great mistake
often committed by the trainer who is new to
this work is to encourage the patients in their
work with small gifts. As the patients have not
the power to reason any matter out they at once
assume that any small gift to them will be
repeated whenever they are given a job to
do, and often when they fail to receive it
they will sulk sometimes for days, and are
quite likely to spoil the work upon which
they are engaged. See that the patient
receives what he is justly entitled to, but
make no presents. I have known a patient
to be given a small present on his birthday
and promptly appear once a month or in less
time with another birthday, hoping for the
gift to be repeated, and sulk badly when he
finds his request refused. The trainer will
save himself a good deal of unpleasantness
by strictly following the above advice.
It is an accepted fact that the feeble-minded
and imbecile do not combine sufficiently to
plan either fun or mischief, yet an instance of
combination for good occurred in our basket-
making shop at one time. We were, at the
invitation of the Local Government Board,
exhibiting in the Educational Section of the
Franco-British Exhibition. It was necessary,
owing to the variety of the exhibits and to
the interest which was taken by the public
in our work, to have a man in daily attend-
ance. For this purpose our basket-maker
trainer was chosen, and consequently the
shop was left for six months without the
trainer. It might have seemed best to close
the shop. This was not done, but the shop
was opened as usual with an ordinary ward
attendant in charge. Very seldom the same
man was in charge two days together, and yet
the patients actually made larger baskets than
they had ever made before, and also made and
repaired a greater number of articles than they
had done during the previous six months. It
seemed that these lads, without any direct
agreement between themselves, felt that they
should do their best during their trainer's
absence. The foregoing appears to me to be
an instance of combination for good among
In a shop containing forty to fifty girls or
boys it may well be imagined that a trainer
has a very busy time in carrying out his own
work, supervising the work of the patients,
and attending to each and every patient
according to his or her temperament. The
method of dealing with two patients is seldom
In one case it may be necessary to bestow
praise, and in another to be very chary of
praising. One patient will work in fits and
starts. Let him do so. He would, no doubt,
promptly sulk if closer application to his work
was expected of him. Deaf and dumb patients
are full of suspicion ; others want approval of
their work again and again. Holding up the
thumb is sufficient to encourage them. They
understand the meaning of this ; it is little
trouble, and no greater praise is required.
Some patients sulk because they have not
heard from their friends. Others are always
wanting letters to be written to their friends,
with a list of many and varied requirements.
In addition, some patients are always ready
The above facts give a fair idea of the tact
and firmness required by a trainer to carry
him successfully through the day, for after all
the patients are only children and must be
treated as such.
Mixed Grades in Workshops.
When deciding which patients should be
sent to the various shops, it should be borne
in mind that when any industry is in full
swing there is much dull and irksome work
to be done, as well as more interesting and
more advanced work. Now it will be very
disheartening for bright and fairly intelligent
patients to be kept continually doing irk-
some work such as in the joiner's shop,
ripping down timber, planing rough boards,
etc., which is work that quite dull lads are
capable of undertaking. Yet this work has
to be done. So in picking the numbers to
fill any shop, it is necessary to chose some of
the brighter patients to be taught the more
skilled work, and also a certain number of
less intelligent patients to do the dull,
uninteresting labour. Having a mixture of
grades in every shop makes for success in
another way. It causes rivalry amongst the
patients themselves. Those who are con-
tinually employed in preparing work for
their brighter and more lucky fellow patients,
after a time, wish to be promoted in the
work they are doing, therefore they will
always be on the lookout to try their hand
at more advanced work. This will ulti-
mately tend to improve their work all round.
Brighter patients, too, seeing their juniors
beginning to usurp their places, will strive
with all their might to maintain their position
of superiority, and consequently will be most
thorough in all they do.
The Training Staff.
Few of those who have the opportunity of
seeing the patients at their work realise the
care, thought, and self-control required by
those who have to teach the mentally
deficient, if the teaching is to be done in
a thorough aud conscientious manner.
The beginner finds his task a great strain
on his self-control. The apparent hopeless-
ness of it all leads him to under-rate his own
capabilities, and he is inclined to give up the
undertaking before the result of his teaching
Those in authority over the trainers should,
therefore, extend to them in their work the
same help and sympathy which the trainers
are expected to give to those placed under
their charge. If this is done it encourages
the trainers to stick to their posts and to
make fresh efforts with their pupils.
Constant changes in the training staff are
bad both for the industry and the patients.
No two trainers' methods are alike.
Changes generally entail making a new
start in any industry.
The following will perhaps be of interest to
those who have the well-being of the mentally
deficient in their minds :
There are undoubtedly in our London
workhouses a great number of mentally
afflicted or feeble-minded people who would
be better if under control in labour colonies.
My experience has shown that the treat-
ment adapted for teaching the feeble-minded
and imbeciles would also be the best treat-
ment for many of the inmates of workhouses.
Consider the case of the ordinary able-
bodied inmates 01 our workhouses.
The larger number of these are the casual
and unskilled labourers who, from one cause
or another, have drifted into the house.
After being interviewed by the House
Committee, the task usually given to them is
to break a certain quantity of stone, say 10
cwt, or to grind, say, I o pecks of corn in a
What is the result ?
Outside the house they are probably men
who, if they had employment, would do as
little as they could for their money and
seldom stick to a job long enough to harden
Faced with a compulsory task of 10 cwt.
of stone to break, such a man has at least to
make an attempt or be prosecuted for refus-
ing to perform his allotted task.
In the event of a prosecution he is probably
awarded seven days' imprisonment, which he
finds compares very favourably with his
Upon returning to the workhouse, fre-
quently the same day as he is discharged
from prison, he is again given a similar task,
but makes a poor attempt to perform it. He
is again dealt with by the magistrate, and so
on until he finally disgusts the workhouse
officials. Probably he has been told that this
will ultimately occur.
Finally he is given a light task in the
house and settles down to a fairly comfortable
Another type is the artisan, who, owing to
drink, illness, or a combination of both, has
come into the house.
He is probably given a week or so in
which to recover and is then told he must go
This he does, but without any means in
his pocket to carry him over a day or two.
Even if he had these means he would most
likely drink them away. Upon his second
entry into the house he is given a task of
stone-breaking or corn-grinding similar to
that given to the unskilled labourer ; this he
promptly refuses to do, and when, as an alter-
native, he is given a job at his own trade, he
again refuses unless he is paid for his work.
The larger number of the able-bodied
inmates are of the foregoing types.
These men, allowed to drift ultimately,
become habitual " in-and-outs," though well
able to work if properly controlled.
If uncontrollable when out of the house
they, either through lack of will-power, drink,
gambling, or some other evil habit, will con-
tinue to drift to the workhouse.
Now, after two or three years of this life I
consider that these men are irreclaimable.
If they are to be a burden on the rates for
the rest of their lives, would it not be better
to employ them at more remunerative labour
than breaking stones or grinding corn ?
To carry out the above suggestion it would
be necessary to appoint a man with a sound
industrial training, able to teach many handi-
crafts and to supervise the work.
Here we get a further point of similarity
between these people and the mentally deficient.
A man who can issue an order, and also, if
necessary, help to carry it out, will always
command the respect of the feeble-minded
and of such workhouse inmates.
Tact is one of the most useful factors in
dealing with both, and unless a man is firm,
tactful, confident, and, above all, sympathetic,
he is useless in getting work out of these
All the talking in the world will not be of
any avail, yet tactful encouragement will do
more in one week than rougher methods will
do in ten years.
The method of dealing with each individual
case varies, and only long experience will
show the appropriate method to be adopted.
The skilful workmanship of the teacher,
and the correct method of dealing with the
individual, are absolutely necessary to ensure
From these remarks I think it can be seen
that the problem of retaining and usefully
employing these workhouse types is well
The dividing line between the habitual
inmate of the workhouse and the feeble-
minded is a very narrow one. Since I have
been connected with asylums I have met
three former able-bodied inmates as patients,
and it is not rare to find relatives of others
who are of the same class.
I have written upon this subject because I
am personally deeply interested in the wel-
fare of these people. My thirty-two years'
experience of the working classes has taught me
that sentiment enters largely into their lives.
If they realise that their mentally afflicted
children will be sympathetically cared for in
institutions and taught industries which will
provide employment for their hands and
exercise for their minds, they will not be, as
now so often occurs, opposed to their children
being placed under control.
Such boys and girls will, under this system,
lead happier and healthier lives than formerly,
and cease to be a menace to those around
In the ten years I have been at Darenth
Industrial Colony I have seen a remarkable
change for the better in the boys and girls
resident in this institution.
The discipline and method with which the
administration of the institution is carried on
has undoubtedly produced this improvement.
On admission many of the inmates ap-
peared to be hopeless subjects for a colony,
yet I have seen these same boys and girls
grow up wonderfully strengthened in body
and in mind, and although they are not fitted
to enter the industrial ranks outside the insti-
tution, yet they have been taught that they
are of some use in their own small world,
even if that be only an Industrial Colony.
TRADES TAUGHT AT DARENTH
The trades taught at Darenth Industrial
Colony are : Carpentering, bookbinding (in-
cluding cardboard-box, envelope- and paper-
bag-making), brush-making, basket-making,
shoe-making, mat-making (hand and loom),
wodlrug-making, tinware and metal-plate
work, tailoring, upholstering, printing, needle-
work, stocking and linen-weaving, painting
and decorating, building and outdoor work,
wood-chopping and bundling, and also a
number of side branches to the trades men-
Physical drill is used to improve the phy-
sique of the patients capable of benefiting
thereby in the evening after work, and has
undoubtedly proved to be helpful in forming
disciplined habits which are essential for their
Taking the trades in the above order, I
will endeavour to place before the teachers
the chief points to be studied in commencing
the various industries, and would also like to
point out how helpful it will be found if the
patients are allowed to assist in fitting up the
shop in which it is intended they shall be
employed. Their interest is stimulated and
the cost of labour is considerably reduced.
This industry appeals to every boy, and it
is one of the most useful to teach them. If
a ready market can be found for the articles
made it is also possible to make the industry
profitable. Fancy articles are no longer
made at Darenth, those of real utility only
being produced. Some of the boys who were
first taught the trade at Darenth are now
employed in making walnut and mahogany
writing tables, ward tables in oak, birch, or
bass, up to nine feet long, cot tables, and
heavy furniture of nearly every description.
Some boys are competent to set out their
own work. Panelled doors, window-frames
and sashes are also made. These results
have been attained in less than seven years.
When this industry was started seven years
ago there was not a boy capable of telling
how many inches there are in a foot. But
it appears to be a class of work above all
others for brightening and quickening a lad's
It is much better, if possible, to have a
number of the same articles to make, as the
working out of a new design too often
worries the boys very much, but, once started,
they will imitate the first article in a satis-
The making of benches and such-like work
appears to be the most suitable on which to
start, and gives the patient an insight into
the use of the hammer and saw. The cutting
up of timber and driving in of nails appears
to the patients as being a mild and pleasant
form of exercise, but as they see the various
articles being gradually completed they
realise the possibility of doing better work.
A morticing machine and turning lathe
are required in this department.
In teaching the trade I should like to lay
stress on the need of employing, if possible,
a thoroughly competent instructor, who will
himself work as well as teach those under
his care. It is only by practical illustration
that this trade can be taught ; and, moreover,
the boys appreciate an instructor who is able
himself to use the tools in a workmanlike
manner. This remark applies generally to
instructors in all trades and industries.
With regard to the patients engaged in
this industry, it will be found that after some
years they have improved physically, and
also, to a certain extent, mentally.
In this industry the trainer generally uses
his own set of tools, and the tools necessary
for the patients will be best chosen by the
trainer. The tools should be of the very
best quality. The equipment other than
tools are : benches fitted with Climax bench-
vices, a good morticing machine with full
set of self-coring chisels, and with a drilling
attachment, a good quality fine-cut grind-
stone, and a supply of fine and coarse Indian
oilstones. The timber used for joinery work
should be of the best. It is impossible to
execute sound work if unseasoned timber is
used. To guard against this, it is policy to
erect a sheltered timber store and to lay in a
fair supply of selected hard woods of various
kinds, which should be replenished as the
stock is drawn from. For turning wood-
work a small treadle lathe can be purchased
for a few pounds, which will be found quite
suitable for light work, but heavy goods,
such as table legs, can be purchased already
If power is obtainable for the lathe, then
table legs and similar heavy work can be
done. The lathe will then also be useful for
the tinsmith to use for turning or spinning
up saucepan and tea-can lids. Lids worked
in this way are a great improvement on those
shaped on the hollowing block.
Bookbinding, Envelope and Box-making.
This industry is suitable for both male
and female patients. The work offers a
large range, from the penny note-book to
the commercial ledger.
It is well for the trainer to remember that
the difference in cost between " shoddy "
and good work is so small that the greatest
supervision is necessary.
In an institution, manuscript books are
always being used. This is the class of work
with which to commence. If small note-
books, one- or two-quire foolscap books
(quarter-bound, marble sides and cut flush)
are made, a finished article will be turned
out in a very short time. This encourages
the pupils. Later on, full cloth, limp or stiff
covers can be tried, and so on to half-bound
or full-bound leather work. There are
several methods of sewing, and the trainer
will no doubt teach that with which he is
most conversant. If sewing presses are used
it is advisable to make uprights adjustable
to a fixed bench. A whole range can be
provided in this way, and when not in use
they can be dismantled and the bench used
for other purposes.
As the patients progress they will make
very little use of the press, but will prefer
other methods of sewing.
One of the most difficult branches of this
industry is the binding up of printed matter.
Very great care must be exercised in stripping
the work that the sections are placed in
proper order, as an error afterwards dis-
covered entails the entire re-stripping of the
book and frequently renders it unfit for re-
binding. The variety of colour in papers,
cloths and leathers appeals to the patients, and
they soon see the need of cleanliness to keep
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their work in good condition. Dirt is a great
enemy to the bookbinder, consequently every
help should be given to the patients in taking
care of their work.
The lettering and tooling on the backs and
covers of the books is a very advanced branch
of the work and one which requires much
practice to become efficient in, but the finished
appearance which these processes give to the
book makes it worth while devoting con-
siderable attention to them.
Gold blocking is an interesting work and
can be taught to the brightest boys. They
must be able to read. When lettering books
which are likely to have a short life, such as
report, wages, and other half-yearly books,
gold foil may be used, but for books which
are intended to last, gold leaf is certainly
The marbling to the edges of various books
may be done with transfer marble paper.
Other smaller work is stippled or splattered.
This requires very careful handling, but it
helps to provide variety in the shop.
Strict regard to economical use of material
must be practised in a binder's shop, other-
wise waste results and expenses run up. The
skins and cloths are very costly and should
always be cut up to the best advantage.
Offcuts of leather and cloths can be utilised
for fancy work, such as blotting-pads, photo
frames, fancy boxes, etc., including hoods for
feather dusting brushes, which can be made
in the brushmaker's shop.
The chief tools required in a binder's shop
are an efficient guillotine with 2 ft. 6 in. to
3 ft. knife, a couple of standing presses, a
gold blocking press with necessary brass type
and rules, a backing press, two or three large
glue-pots and the usual knives, scissors, bone-
folders and other sundries.
Envelope-making by simple methods is a
very useful industry for boys and girls who
The chief tools required are a strong
envelope-cutting press, and a series of knives
or punches of the shape which is likely to be
used. Sheet-lead is the best material upon
which to cut. The only other tools required
are small camel-hair brushes, bone-folders, and
small circular tins to hold the gum used by
Dextrine is the most suitable material for
gumming. The paper is purchased by weight
and may be obtained in any size, cut square,
oblong, or angle, the last for commercial
The size of the paper depends upon how
many envelopes of the required pattern can
be cut out of a sheet.
Waste cuttings can be sold for a few-
shillings per hundredweight.
It will be found that if brooms, banister
and shoe brushes are made in any great
number, and are likely to remain in stock
for any length of time, it will be best to box
them up for two reasons : (i) to protect
them from moth (which is very destructive
to certain kinds of bristle) ; (2) to prevent
the bristles becoming crippled (which is sure
to happen if the goods are carelessly stored).
Boxes suitable for this purpose can be made
from strawboard, size 25 in. by 30 in. and
16 oz. to the board. One hundredweight of
strawboard will cut into sufficient pieces to
make 448 broom boxes, which will cost,
including paste and paper, or mull for the
corners, about sixpence per dozen.
The only tools required are a hardwood
scoring board fitted with movable gauge
(the cutting side of the gauge should be
lined with brass), a short sharp knife, a pair
of scissors, and a paste brush. Poor class
patients can easily make boxes of this kind
after a little practice.
The protection given to the goods men-
tioned above quite justifies the make and
use of boxes of this description.
This is a very interesting industry both
for boys and girls. The variety of articles
which can be made is very great. In the
first place it is essential that a skilled crafts-
man be engaged to teach the patients and to
supervise their work. This industry may be
divided into three branches : Wire-drawn,
where the bristle, bass or fibre is drawn into
the stock with wire ; set or pan work, where
the bristle or bass is set into the stock with
pitch ; finishing, which consists of glueing on
the back and shaping the article. French
polishing is also included in the latter branch.
Set work requires most careful supervision by
the trainer, as the material used in this work
is very costly, some of the bristle costing as
much as £$ 5 per cwt. The bristle should
be purchased ready dressed and even size
and not as imported, as with the latter more
short bristle is likely to accumulate than can
be used, and consequently a loss results.
In set work it is important that the patient
be taught to knock the bristle or bass down
thoroughly and also to fan it with the thumb
before dipping the knot into the pitch before
tying. The hemp which is used for tying
must be pulled very tight, as otherwise the
centre of the knot drops out, and a bad
Care should also be taken that the hemps
used are not of too coarse a quality and not
The pitch should be obtained from the
best makers. Soft as well as medium pitch
should be stocked. This allows the trainer to
humour his pans to suit the work in hand.
Care must also be taken with the Bunsen
burners under the pans. They must be care-
fully adjusted so as to allow an even tem-
perature, as overheated pitch becomes brittle
when cold and is inclined to powder out after
the broom or brush has been in use a short
The flirting or whisking of a broom before
trimming is an important matter, as any
appearance of bristle falling out when the
broom is taken into use gives a bad impres-
sion to the user. This whisking also prevents
waste of material, as the droppings can be
re-dressed and used over again. To properly
flirt a broom or brush before being put into
use the article should be held over a box
when the loose bristle is being knocked out.
Bristle dressing and mixing is one of the
most important branches of brush-making
and well worth teaching.
As an instance, soon after we commenced
brushmaking at Darenth a bristle-dresser at
30i\ per week had to be employed for quite
twelve weeks in a year to dress up our waste
bristle and bass. This work is now done
entirely by the patients. This method has
effected a great saving, especially as our out-
put has increased very largely.
The pan-benches should be made to seat
six persons, as by so doing the pitch is used
up more quickly and the supply in the pan
is kept fresh and not so likely to burn.
The following points are worth noting in
connection with pan work :
The pan should be heated up by the time
the patients come into the shop and they
must be watched when first lighted to see
that they do not boil over. A wet sack and
some sand should be kept at hand in case of
an accident occurring, but this is not likely
if the trainer is thoroughly conversant with
In teaching the wire-drawn work it is
policy for learners to use cocoa-fibre or white
Mexican fibre, as these materials are cheap
and do not involve a great loss when wasted.
As the patients make progress they may use
bassine and Bahia union. This material
makes up into a very useful scrubbing-brush,
although pure bass or monkey bass should
be used if the best quality article is required.
I would advise brass union wire being used at
all times for any brush or broom which is
likely to be used in water, especially those
which are required to last a long time. Iron
wire quickly rusts and the knots rub out.
Boards and stocks of all kinds can be
purchased already bored, but when possible
it is policy to purchase unbored stocks and
boards. With a treadle boring-lathe these
can be pierced. By doing this an addition to
the industry is effected.
The shaping of the brush is an important
work, and a very unwieldy instrument called
a bench knife is used for this purpose. A
good deal of practice is necessary to become
proficient in the use of this tool. The bench
to which the knife is fixed should be stoutly
made and well fastened to the floor, as the
strain on the bench is very great. The top
should be of oak quite 4 in. thick, and the
part upon which the knife cuts should be
made to screw on in the form of a block so
that when one side is worn the block can be
reversed, otherwise the whole top of the
bench will have to be renewed.
The remaining tools necessary in the
drawn and finishing work branch are as fol-
lows : In finishing, 30 lb. parallel bench
vices for drawing, a number of 7 lb. parallel
bench vices, spokeshaves with 2 in. and 4 in.
irons, good quality screw-drivers, a bass and
fibre-cutting knife and gauge, bench and hand
shears, a couple of large size glue-pots and a
gross or two of glueing screws, which are used
for fixing the back on the brush and holding
it there until it is quite dry. As four of
these screws are needed for each pair of
brushes a large number will be required.
Brush-making is recommended for be-
ginners. The variety of brushes is so great
and so many small jobs can be found for
learners that they can be given jobs right
away, such as glass-papering, tacking and
branding, and whilst doing these jobs they
are able to watch the more advanced branches.
Although it may not be perceptible, they are
gathering knowledge, and it is often found
that a lad has a very fair insight into the
work when he is given the opportunity to
try his hand at more advanced lessons.
The girls are more economical than boys
at drawn work, especially at the lighter work,
such as hair-brushes. Their fingers become
very sensitive, and they are able to judge the
quantity of bristle required with hardly any
trace of waste.
The polishing of the brushes is a very im-
portant part of the finishing, and unless this
is properly done, no matter how good the
material is, the brush does not look a first-
Absolute method is necessary in the daily
work of a brush-making shop. By noon each
day a supply of wire-drawn brushes should
be ready for the boys working at the glueing
bench, as otherwise these boys will have
nothing to do during the afternoon.
After the backs are glued and clamped on
to the brushes they should be carefully stacked
away ready for unclamping as soon as work
begins next morning.
The brushes glued up overnight form the
work for the finishers next day. By this
means everybody is kept employed.
One pair of large bench shears should be
fitted up for each bench of six boys, who
should be taught to do their own trimming.
This is quite possible if an adjustable cutting
gauge is fixed upon the shears, the gauge, of
course, being set to length by the trainer.
But even the adjustment of the gauge the
patients will learn in time.
This is very interesting work for boys. It
is divided into two classes, i. e. fancy and
The fancy work is much the best for
beginners. The material is lighter and
more flexible than that of commercial work
and can be used over again if the work has
ass ' :
to be pulled to pieces, whereas for the
heavier baskets the material is spoiled once
it is used. The methods of weaving fancy
baskets give the patients a good idea of the
weaving necessary in the commercial branch.
In the heavier work, laundry or oval-
shaped baskets are the best suited for
beginners. The building up of square
corners to a basket or any work entailing
fine lines needs a good deal of practice, and
I would advise trainers to avoid this class of
work until progress has been made in weav-
ing less important baskets. A good deal of
floor space is necessary in a basket shop as
otherwise there will be no room for fixing
the side stakes in the slarth or bottom of
the basket, which with the stakes sometimes
extends to twelve or fourteen feet, before
the upset is made.
The manufacture of buff wicker, glossy,
and flat cane chairs form an interesting
addition to the basket-making, but these
chairs form a much more advanced branch.
Cane-seat weaving is good practice for
smaller lads, and exercises their minds.
A strong iron tank at least 9 ft. by 3 ft.
by 3 ft. is necessary for soaking the rods.
The water-supply tap should be at one end
of the tank and the waste or emptying outlet
at the other. To the waste plug a strong
ring or chain should be attached as it is
necessary to change the water at least twice
a week, otherwise it becomes foetid. On
each occasion the tank should be scrubbed
It is advisable to use English rods or
osiers if obtainable, as they are by far the
best, but of late it has been very difficult
to obtain these. Fortunately, African as
well as Belgian and French rods can now be
obtained. The African rods are of very
good quality though rather more wasteful
owing to their length.
Straw plait, plaited rush, and enamelled
cane in many colours can also be bought
and add greatly to the variety of the work.
The equipment used in basket-making is not
costly, and consists for each boy of a strong
match-boarded slope about 6 ft. by i ft. 9 in.
with a back rest attached and a small slope
3 ft. by 1 ft. 9 in. Best quality 8 in. and
10 in. shears with spring attachment, picking
knife, shop knife, bodkin, iron beater, mallet,
tenon saw, and a few other sundries are also
required. The boys need strong fingers and
wrists for the heavy work, and until they
develop these the work is very tiring. Pick-
ing and trimming the basket requires much
The method of using basket-makers' knives
is dangerous and great care should be
Always remember that bad rods or osiers
will discourage a beginner in an industry
which presents difficulties enough already.
Galvanised iron fittings of all kinds, in-
cluding bolts, nuts, and washers, can be
obtained for the use of basket-makers. Black
iron should never be used owing to the rust.
It will be found that a considerable
quantity of work can be done for the basket
shop by the patients in the carpenter's shop,
such as wood frames for fancy chairs, bottoms
for fancy baskets, and basket battens of all
kinds. For the latter it will be found that
odds and ends of timber, of no further use in
the carpenter's shop, can be used. Generally
it will be found that the offcuts from one
industry will work in for another.
If a profit and loss account is kept a small
adjustment can be made at the end of the
half year between the various industries, a
note being made at the time of transfer by
It is necessary that the basket-maker
trainer be at his shop early in the morning
to soak the rods in the tank ready for the
day's work, otherwise great delay is expe-
rienced in getting to work when the patients
Shoe-making and Repairing.
This trade is usually taught in an institu-
tion, and in all cases the results have proved
it to be a satisfactory one. At Darenth the
work is carried out on a large scale. A high
class of boot is not aimed at, but rather one
for general utility and wearing qualities.
Boots suitable both for male and female
patients are made.
Formerly rivetted boots were chiefly made,
but a Blake's sewing machine has been pur-
chased, and a considerable amount of work is
now done with this machine. Some of the
patients are able to control the machine
themselves. Patients have been taught to
use Singer's or Bradbury's closing machines
and have attained proficiency. Several of
these machines are in use, and the patients
are now able to do all patching and toe-
capping, which is a very considerable under-
taking in an institution containing 2000
inmates. Repairs from other institutions are
also executed. The stripping and patching
is the beginner's first work. There is, of
course, the risk of spoiling the upper when
cutting round the sole, and a considerable
amount of teaching is necessary before a
patient can be entrusted with this work.
At Darenth, on an average, 800 pairs of
new boots are made and 13,000 pairs are
Fibre Mat Making.
This industry is well worth undertaking.
The trade is most suitable for males, as the
work is very hard and rough for the hands.
The work at first sight appears to be very
simple, but this is misleading, as considerable
skill is required, which can only be obtained
The equipment is simple, and can be made
by any carpenter. It consists of a stout
frame and clamp made adjustable with bolts,
plates and nuts, a hardwood slide, a hammer,
and a strong pair of bent shears. A mat-
maker's needle and palm are also required
for sewing on the border.
The " stringing " of the frame is the first
and most important part of the work, as the
finish of the mat depends a good deal upon
this. The strings must be absolutely tight
before any attempt is made to build up the
mat. In the " thrumming" or " building up"
of the mats the patient is likely to use the
hammer more than is necessary, with the
result that some strings are broken. It is
better, however, to err in this direction than
to have a loose mat, as the strings can be
repaired if broken. After some practice the
hammer will be used in a proper manner, and
a good mat will result. The great difficulty
for beginners is to keep the correct measure-
ments. If these are not kept a tendency to
" spread " or " draw " will certainly be found.
A part of the work which the girls can under-
take is the plaiting for the bordering, but the
sewing on of the plait is heavy work, and
should be done by the boys. The same kind
of plait can be used in making skeleton mats
and the curbs for scrubbing kneelers. The
fibre kneelers are very useful in institutions
where much scrubbing is done, as they are
soft for the knees and the curb prevents the
dress from getting wet. They can easily be
dried when not in use.
In the shop at Darenth we make rope and
fibre " fend-offs " for the River Ambulance
Service. This is very intricate work for
beginners, but our boys have mastered it.
Another useful branch is coal-sack making.
The flax sacking is purchased in rolls of about
eighty yards in length, and is dressed with
hot Stockholm tar. It is then cut up into
suitable lengths, and, when completed, a tin
ticket stamped " I cwt." or " 2 cwts." is fixed
Coloured and white mops also can be
made. Brussels wool or yarn is used. The
wool is carefully cut up and weighed to ensure
a uniform size. It is then tied up in a certain
manner and the 6-in. galvanised mop nail
passed through the wool with a leather top
and bottom. The mop is then shaken out
and trimmed. Old machine belting and
odd pieces of leather from the shoe-shop
can be used for tops and bottoms, the pieces
being shaped with a i|- in. circular leather
All the offcuts of the wool up to a certain
length are used for wool mats, and the short
cuttings unsuitable for mats are put through
the carding-machine and used in the uphol-
sterer's shop for stuffing cushions and backs
of wicker chairs.
Two four-quarter mat-making looms have
recently been installed at Darenth and a really
splendid mat is now being made. The 3 ft.
by 2 ft. mats made on these looms equal, if
not excel in appearance, the frame-made mat
of the same size. They are more even in
texture and yet are 3 lb. lighter.
Wool-bordered mats can also be made
upon these looms. This is a more advanced
stage of work which will be reached in time.
When purchasing yarn, be sure to obtain the
best for stringing. This quality of Ceylon
fibre yarn is usually obtained in dholls, but
the yarn for the body of the mat is in bales
of about 300 lb. each and costs about 18s.
per cwt. ; the better class costs 2$s. per cwt.
Loose fibre for wool-bordered mats is pur-
chased in " ballots," and is, of course, cheaper
than the yarn.
Fibre yarns dyed in a variety of shades are
obtainable at a little extra cost, and with
these colours, designs, lettering and borders
can be worked into the mats.
The waste fibre from mat-making is used
by nurserymen in which to strike bulbs.
This is a very suitable occupation for
feeble or weak patients, both male and female,
but it is necessary that they should be able
to count and also judge colours if they are to
be taught to work out a design.
It is work that appeals to the boys and
girls owing to the bright colours, and they
take a delight in seeing a rug develop under
In working pattern or design rugs the
pattern, worked out to scale one-half or
quarter size, is given to the instructor and
one quarter of the pattern is worked on the
canvas. This is copied by the patients on
the opposite corner, and the half when com-
pleted is copied on to the remaining portion.
The filling in between the designs can then
be done by beginners. This is a very good
exercise indeed for the mind.
From experience I find that rugs should
be made very full. They should be trimmed
fairly close so as to throw the design up
It is a strange fact that the girls are much
better than the boys in sorting wool. Waste
wool, as bought, is delivered in large rough
knots, and a bundle may consist of twenty
various shades ; but the boys are not able to
distinguish the shades easily, and quickly get
disheartened if they have much of this work
to do. On the other hand, the boys will work
out a design much better and quicker than
There is a large choice of wools on the
market, but all are expensive. If waste wool
is purchased one finds that quite 50 per cent,
is unsuitable for use owing to the great variety
of tints supplied in small quantities, and these
are difficult to work in unless they can be
used for coloured mops or small slip mats.
Good quality bent shears are required for
trimming the wool rugs. This work is very
tiring and is best done by the boys.
This is a very interesting industry, but
the boys must be carefully chosen for this
work, as it is very trying. The noise and
din are objectionable to beginners.
The preparation of patterns for the various
articles of tinware is an intricate work, and
requires the services of a first-class instructor,
but once the patterns are prepared the boys
will readily lay them on and cut out from
the tin sheet to the best advantage.
It is very important to remember that it
is much easier to cut from a large piece of
tin than from a small piece, and if the boys
have access to your stock they will quickly
take a new sheet of tin to cut from, instead
of using small ofifcuts which are just as suit-
able for their purpose.
The trainer should keep the stock under
his own control and issue only what is
Small work, such as funnels, custard-, bread-
and cake-tins, bedcard holders and dustpans,
are the best articles to commence with.
Repairs in an institution provide plenty
of work for tin-smiths, and this affords good
practice for the boys in the use of the
soldering-iron — a very difficult tool to master.
A badly soldered article is very unsightly.
It is also very necessary that the right
gauge of tin-plate be used for the various
articles. The trainer should give this matter
The tools necessary for this work are fairly
costly, and it is good policy to purchase the
The tin-plate is supplied by the box, except
in the case of large sizes, which are supplied
by weight. The size and gauge of the sheet
required should be stated when ordering.
Always order stock sizes when possible.
The results from this industry will prove
very discouraging for the first year or two,
but after this the patients will improve and
good progress be made. Do not expect too
much in the early stages.
The chief tools required are : Soldering
irons, with foot-print handles ; complete set
of mallets ; hammers — paning, creasing,
hollowing, planishing, rivetting, square, round
face ; stakes — hatchet, funnel, extinguisher,
half-moon, side, creasing, canister ; tinman's
horse and set of leads ; bick iron ; elm
hollowing block ; square and straight edge ;
jenny ; bending rollers, about 36 in.; folding
machine ; pliers (various) ; punches (solid,
various sizes ; hollow, various sizes) ; rivet
sets (various sizes) ; compasses ; 2 -ft. steel
rule ; chisels ; stock shears and snips ; cast-
iron mandrils ; spout mandrils ; strong leg
vice ; tinman's gas stove.
In addition to the above there are a
number of tools and machines which a
practical tin-smith will make up for himself
at very little cost.
The replacement of tools is small except
in the case of copper bits and hollow punches.
Metal plate and bent ironwork are useful
additions to a tin-smith shop, and help to pro-
vide a variety of work for the patients. Useful
articles, such as fire - screens, finger-plates,
hearth curbs, crumb-trays, etc., in copper or
brass, are easily made after a little practice.
For beginners it is best to work the design
up from the face, and afterwards, as the
patients make progress, the pitch-block may
be introduced and more advanced work
attempted. Complete outfits of tools for
bent iron and repousse work are obtainable
at very reasonable prices.
This is a most useful industry, and, apart
from the repairing, a most difficult one to
It is improbable that a patient will ever
make sufficient progress to become a cutter,
but a good number of patients can make
trousers and vests, and a few a suit throughout.
Canvas bags and bed sackings, jean and
duck overalls and a lot of other small articles
can be readily made, and all prove very use-
ful in providing varied work for the patients.
Repairs provide the bulk of the work, and
in any institution sufficient work of this kind
can be found.
This trade is suitable for weakly lads and
epileptics as there is no great danger of falling.
Some boys have spent quite two years in this
shop before they can do even small repairs.
This is a very profitable and useful industry,
and in one year 2788 new articles were made
and 11,459 were repaired.
Upholstering", Mattress-making-, etc.
The actual upholstering of a chair or couch
is a most difficult and intricate undertaking,
and a considerable amount of teaching would
be required before a boy would be competent
to undertake this advanced branch of the
trade. There is, however, a great amount of
work in the shop with which patients can
assist, and by doing so gain a good insight
into the industry. Stripping of furniture to
be re-upholstered teaches the proper use of
the mallet and stripping chisel and also the
use of the hands.
This portion of the work must be done
well, as all nails and tacks have to be removed
and care must be exercised so as not to split
The cleaning of the articles during re-
stuffing can also be undertaken. The patients
can also be employed to hand tools and
material to the trainer, in " teasing " hair and
wool ; and as they improve they can actually
help in tacking on the gimp, studding the
banding or sewing on cording, and, in fact,
with all light work requiring patience and care.
In an institution mattresses and pillows
constantly require re-making. This provides
ample work in stripping mattresses and pass-
ing the hair through the carding-machine or
" teasing " it by hand.
New mattresses can be made throughout
by patients after a few months' teaching and
proves very interesting work. Stuffed backs
and cushions for upholstering wicker chairs
made in the basket-shop may be prepared,
but paper patterns should be cut to suit each
chair, as it will be found that no two chairs
are quite alike. The backs and cushions may
be either sewn to the chair or tied on for
Hassocks can easily be made, and if it is
essential that a number be exact to size, the
best method is to to make a box minus one
end, the lid being hinged to one side. When
closed, the lid should be secured with two
cabin hooks and eyes.
The inside of the box should be the
measurement of the outside of the hassock.
Place the cover inside the box, secure the
lid, and fill tightly with stuffing.
Articles made in this manner are uniform
and will retain their shape. I have described
this method minutely, since it ensures turning
out a good-shaped article.
Waterproof aprons for laundry work and
waterproof bibs for epileptics may also be
made in this department.
A good strong machine is necessary for
machining ticks, which will also do for
machining tapestry used in upholstering.
Staining and French-polishing may also be
taught in connection with this industry and
forms a useful branch of the trade.
" This is a great and intricate industry.
We are hoping in the near future to
be able to reduce considerably our stationery
bill by having, as a going concern, a printing
industry of our own."
The above is an extract taken from a
paper which I had the pleasure (at the
invitation of Miss Kirby) of reading at
Denison House, Vauxhall Bridge Road. At
Darenth we were then hoping to fit up a
shop for this industry, an undertaking which,
as can be seen from what follows, is now an
accomplished fact :
We have now in use in our printing shop
three crown folio platen printing machines
driven by power obtained from a 17 h.p.
gas engine, which also drives the sawmill.
In addition, there is one foolscap folio
machine, a guillotine, perforating and relief
stamping machines, and a small stereo plant
for casting type. During the year 1 9 1 2 we
printed nearly 1,000,000 forms of various
kinds, and also printed and bound 1000
service books of seventy-four pages for use
in the Institution Chapel.
The boys can put up any job which is
required for the Board's use. One lad in
particular, who can neither read nor write,
is by far the best compositor. He will put
up a job nearly perfectly. He works best
from printed copy, but he is now beginning
to work from manuscript. Several of the
boys can also put these jobs into chases.
Four of the boys can each print off from 800
to 1000 copies per hour. Several other boys
are speedily becoming equally proficient, and
at the end of the day they will clean up their
machines in quite a workmanlike manner.
Linen label making and printing, also relief
stamping, is largely done in this shop.
In the face of the foregoing, what industry
can be considered hopeless for these people
to undertake ?
The installing of a printing plant is a
costly experiment, but is well worth the
venture, as the educational advantages for
the patients are so great.
Independent expert advice is necessary in
equipping a printing shop. In this respect
we at Darenth were fortunate in having
the assistance of a gentleman who is
thoroughly conversant with the business.
With his help undoubtedly a good deal of
unnecessary expense was avoided.
This, of course, is purely women's work
and most useful for girls. The ordinary
feeble-minded girl will soon learn to do a little
repairing and in time plain sewing.
The ordinary repairing of linen and cloth-
ing in an institution is an important matter
and one on which a great deal of money can
be spent, and although not so showy as other
work it is both useful and profitable.
The amount of plain new needlework
required in an institution of any size is
remarkable, and this is work that the
advanced pupils can well do.
At Darenth there are employed on new
work 142 patients; in the repairing-room,
1 1 7 patients ; and in the teaching needle-
room, 45 patients. In 19 12, 50,000 articles
were made and 64,500 articles were repaired.
64 sewing-machines, 2 buttonhole-machines
and 7 stocking-machines are also entirely-
worked by patients in these rooms. The goods
made are sent direct to the institution requiring
them or to our central stores for distribution.
House-painting and Decorating.
This is a profitable and useful work for
boys in an institution, and one or two pupils
put with a good trainer will in a short time
prove useful in cleaning and preparing work
for painting, washing off distempered ceilings,
or stripping, rubbing down and preparing
walls for re-papering.
The risk of accidents is great, and it is
necessary to carefully choose your boys and
make sure that epileptics are not allowed on
ladders or scaffolds.
At Darenth there is a party of about six-
teen boys engaged in this work who have
recently painted a large ward throughout.
The value of the work was £180, and it
compares favourably with similar work done
by a contractor.
Work to the value of ^500 has been exe-
cuted by the boys with one trainer in a year.
These lads also do the staining, varnishing,
French and wax polishing of articles made
in the carpenter's shop.
Building and Outdoor Work.
It will be found that a number of boys are
best suited for outdoor work — strong robust
lads, who resent close confinement in shops.
These are lads who will prove useful on the
farm, in the garden, and in building work.
It is hardly necessary to give details con-
cerning farm and garden work, but a few
words may be said about building.
In an institution a staff bricklayer is
usually kept, and small extensions and
alterations are frequently required. An
intelligent artisan, with the help of six or
eight boys, can readily undertake such work.
The boys are first taught to excavate ground,
to mix and carry concrete, to make mortar,
and to do other little jobs incidental to
building work. Later on, the boys can help
to flush up walls, to back up or fill in walls,
to rake out the joints, and assist in pointing
the brickwork. All this kind of work is
beneficial to their development. Bricklaying
can be taught most easily to lads from
fourteen to sixteen years of age. Older lads
are not so likely to be interested ; they are
not so amenable to advice, but are more
suited for the labouring portion of the work.
Working in the open air benefits them, and
leaves them healthily tired at night, while
seeing the building grow up with their
assistance encourages them to greater efforts.
In an institution of any size it will be
found that the upkeep of the roads is a
considerable item of expenditure. Here the
strong, sturdy lads may prove useful. Tar
painting of roads has of late years been
largely adopted. If the roads are taken in
time they may be made nearly indestructible
at very little cost by the use of patient-
The equipment necessary for executing
this work consists of a good quality eighty-
gallon tar copper on wheels, with a 2-in.
draw-off cock as near the bottom of the
copper as possible, a supply of strong bass-
brooms for sweeping off the roads, and some
12-in. cocoa-fibre wire-drawn brooms with
which to lay the tar.
It is most important that the surface be
swept quite free of dust before the first coat
of tar is brushed on, and so with each coat
of tar following.
A party of a dozen boys will cover a large
area of ground in fine weather, and though
the work is rather dirty it is healthy.
Wood-chopping and Bundling.
This is an industry fairly easy for patients
to attempt, and is profitable if there is a good
demand for your output.
Old timber should be purchased where
possible; failing that, deal ends, which can
be purchased by the fathom.
Deal ends are more difficult to procure
each year owing to the great demand for
this timber for box making.
The alternative is cord-wood, but the
economy of purchasing this kind of timber
depends a good deal upon the district in
which your wood-chopping is likely to be done.
There are good serviceable bundling
machines on the market costing about £$>
or a more simple machine can be made for
a few shillings. This latter machine is
generally used in workhouses.
If wood-chopping is done to any great
extent the man in charge should learn to
sharpen and set his saws, as here, again, the
cost is great if they have to be attended to
The filling up of the tied string and keying
the bundles up with a mallet in the old-
fashioned way is the easiest method for
At Darenth the opportunity for the dis-
posal of our output is unique, as we supply
all our other institutions. About thirty-three
boys are employed and are making about
300,000 bundles a year.
for Feeble Minded.
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